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Paul Johnson Beheading Video Released

AP – American’s Decapitation Shown on Internet

Images of an American hostage being decapitated surfaced Saturday on an Internet site known for carrying the statements of Islamic militants. The gruesome videotape appeared three days after U.S. authorities announced the search for the body of Paul M. Johnson Jr. had been called off. Still photographs of Johnson’s beheading had been posted June 19 on some of the same militant Islamic forums that on Saturday provided links to the newly released video footage. Johnson, a 49-year-old engineer for U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, was kidnapped June 12.

The video, which ran almost two minutes and included images of tanks and destroyed homes apparently in Iraq, carried the title “The Voice of Jihad: Get the infidels out of the Arabian Peninsula.” Voice of Jihad is the name of a periodical issued on the Internet twice monthly by the al-Qaida cell in Saudi Arabia, which claimed Johnson’s killing. A man, his head wrapped in a red and white checkered headscarf and his face not visible, is seen using a knife to decapitate Johnson, who was lying face down on a mattress. The man held up Johnson’s head for the camera then placed it on the body. One of the killers wiped blood off the knife on the orange jumpsuit Johnson was wearing.

Hours after the still photographs were released last month, Saudi security forces shot dead Abdul Aziz al-Moqrin, the leader of the al-Qaida cell in the kingdom. On Wednesday, U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James C. Oberwetter, released a statement saying the FBI’s search for Johnson’s remains was near completion without the body being recovered. FBI experts sent to the kingdom to help with the search began leaving and, a day later, the U.S. State Department confirmed the search had ended. Johnson’s son in Florida, Paul Johnson III, 28, was pressing U.S. officials to do more to find his father’s body.

Since May last year, Saudi Arabia has suffered a series of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, gunbattles and kidnappings. Many attacks have targeted foreign workers in an attempt to undermine the economy, which depends heavily on expatriate labor. Al-Qaida, led by Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, aspires to topple the Saudi royal family and replace it with an Islamic government.

I was wondering why searches for “Paul Johnson” were suddenly escalating, since the story had been off the front pages for a few weeks. Now I know.

For the backstory, see:

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Our Life says:

    Paul Johnson Beheading Video
    As reported by the Associated Press and on Outside the Beltway, video of Paul Johnson’s Beheading has been released on the Internet. Here’s the AP report: “Images of an American hostage being decapitated surfaced Saturday on an Internet site known…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. Paul Johnson Video
    Well, I guess this was just a matter of time: Images of an American hostage being decapitated surfaced Saturday on an Internet site known for carrying the statements of Islamic militants. The gruesome videotape appeared three days after U.S. authoritie…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. Paul Johnson Beheading Video Released
    I first heard about this from Chris Short. Wizbang! had this AP report: CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Images of an American hostage being decapitated surfaced Saturday on an Internet site known for carrying the statements of Islamic militants. The gruesome…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Paul Johnson Beheading Video Surfaces
    A video of Paul Johnson being beheaded has surfaced. Paul Johnson was beheaded by Muslims in Saudi Arabia last month. Under very suspicious circumstances the Saudi government claimed to have caught and killed the perpetrators. I posted still photos of…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  5. janouit says:

    WHY ARE THERE NO LINKS TO THE WEBSITE OF THE HOSTAGES DECAPITATION? I WANNA SEE IT

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0